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Measuring Informational Distance Between Cities

Tuesday, April 29th, 2008

The folks over at have posted a curious visualization showing the “google” distance between pairs of cities around the globe, nicely visualized in rotatable 3d. What is “google” distance? From their website:

This tridimensional scheme represents the strength of relations between cities from searches on Google. The main idea is to compare the number of pages on the internet where the two cities appear close to each other, with the number of pages they appear isolated. This proportion indicates some kind of intensity of relation between the cities. After measuring this “google proximity” we divide it by its geographical distance. By this process we obtain an indicator about the strength of relation in spite of the real distance, a kind of informational distance between cities.  

They call that measure the google-platonic distance between cities, which is explained further on their page…

Here a partial visualization (image below). Click on the image to launch their tool, see examples, and spin the globe. The visualization could be helped by showing it on a real sphere, but the linearized sphere no doubt spins quicker. Thanks Curt!

google informational distance